Facebook pauses Giphy integration worldwide after UK launches antitrust investigation

Facebook pauses Giphy integration worldwide after UK launches antitrust investigation
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Facebook paused the integration of animated search engine Giphy into its services after United Kingdom regulators opened an antirust investigation into the recent acquisition, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced Friday it was looking into whether Facebook's move "may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services."

The regulators submitted an official enforcement order on Tuesday.

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Australian regulators also opened an antitrust investigation into the deal earlier this week.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it is looking into whether the deal may give Facebook data that strengthens its market power or harms online messaging rivals — many of which use Giphy.

Facebook's roughly $400 million acquisition of Giphy has raised antitrust concerns in the U.S. as well.

Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyBiden's push for unity collides with entrenched partisanship The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike The Memo: Culture war intensifies over school boards MORE (R-Mo.) said at the time that “Facebook wants Giphy so it can collect even more data on us."

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharOn The Money — Progressives play hard ball on Biden budget plan Schumer, McConnell headed for another collision over voting rights Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (D-Minn.) called on the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the deal.

Sarah Miller, director of the American Economic Liberties Project, called the deal "just the latest example of the Federal Trade Commission standing by while Facebook and Google centralize control over online communications."

The FTC is currently investigating several large tech companies, including Facebook.

It also evaluating past mergers in the industry that did not trigger regulatory review at the time.

A spokesperson for Facebook told The Hill Friday that the company is "prepared to show regulators that this acquisition is positive for consumers, developers, and content creators alike.”